Information-rich and insights-poor is a common state of being for many organizations. They’re collecting terabytes of data every day, but disparate systems and siloed operations prevent them from fully monetizing its value. Digitalization and advanced analytics are needed to help aggregate the data, make sense of it, and leverage it to its full advantage in the supply chain.
What is a Data Silo?
A data silo is simply data that has been collected but isn’t easily accessible outside of a specific database or platform. The data resides and only makes sense within the purview of its own silo. As a result, the siloed data isn’t being analyzed as part of a larger organizational view.
Data silos represent one of the most significant roadblocks to enabling supply chain visibility because the more time they have to develop, the more likely it becomes that critical information and opportunities will go overlooked. Some of those oversights can potentially be very costly. A bottleneck in the supply chain or an opportunity to save money, for example, may go unnoticed until it’s too late. Or data about a single subject may be spread out across different silos, making it difficult for people to access all the information they need to make informed decisions.
Data silos also hinder collaboration, both within the company and with external partners and customers. And they reduce data quality and create redundancies that increase IT costs.
Common Causes of Data Silos
Oftentimes, data silos are the result of a technical infrastructure not scaling in line with company growth. When this happens, different functional areas within the company tend to develop their own methods of recording data, resulting in inconsistencies and silos, which can render the data inaccessible or completely unusable by other departments. As all that data goes untapped and unanalyzed, it can create backlogs for data managers to deal with later on.
There’s also the need to balance data security with data access. Companies often lack broad policies mandating how data can be stored and shared within the organization. Or there could be bureaucratic issues within functional areas or systems that make it difficult or impossible for the right people to access the right information at the right time.
Lack of integration is another common cause. With data coming in from many different sources and various software applications being used to manage it all, the problem is often simply a lack of integration between systems and disparate data sources.
Resolving Data Silos through Digitalization
Supply chains thrive on data because data is the key to unlocking visibility. Improving supply chain visibility is more important than ever – and finding the right solution is a critical step in the process. Data lakes, platform integrations, and other forms of connectivity and data aggregation can be used to resolve data siloing issues and improve supply chain visibility.
Bristlecone develops digitalization solutions and offers integration and automation services to build fully connected systems that address common data issues IT and supply chain leaders face, while delivering meaningful benefits like reduced database sizes and faster time to value. Want to learn more? Let’s talk.